Relates to the New York state office of religious and independent schools establishment act.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the education law, in relation to the New York state center for independent and religious schools establishment act
Establishes a New York State Center for Independent and Religious Schools and permits the center to disburse school safety funds allocated in the 2013-2014 State Budget.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section 1: Creates Article 12-B which establishes the New York State Center for Independent and Religious Schools.
Section 2: Sets forth an immediate effective date.
Presently, the state provides resources to support students who attend independent or religious schools. Specifically, resources are allocated for the purpose of obtaining instructional materials, academic intervention services, transportation services, and school health and safety measures. The present mechanism for providing much of these services requires the local public school district to administer these funds to the independent or religious school where pupils residing in the public school district attend.
The administration of aid programs benefiting religious and independent school students often become the responsibility of the public school districts or BOCES in which such independent or religious schools are located or in which such independent and religious school students reside. Placing a burden on the public school system for administering programs intended to benefit religious and independent schools is unfair, inefficient and often ineffective. In some cases, the administration of programs benefiting religious and independent schools is handled directly by the State Education Department which is increasingly challenged to meet rising demands with fewer resources. This legislation would address these challenges by creating an entity that would be exclusively responsible for serving the needs of independent and religious schools.
The health and safety of our students, regardless of where they attend school is of the utmost importance. As such, in early 2013 resources were appropriated for school districts to upgrade or install safety equipment. Additional funds for the purchase of school safety equipment were appropriated for independent and religious schools in the 2013-2014 Budget. The Center will provide an efficient, cost-effective, transparent and accountable means of disbursing this safety equipment funding, while avoiding the potential for excessive entanglement of government entities with religious and independent institutions. To ensure that the administration of the Center is transparent and that funds are properly disbursed, the Center will operate under the direction of an oversight board, comprised of appointees from the Commissioner of Education, the Commissioner's
Advisory Council on Nonpublic Schools, and the Comptroller. An additional three members of the oversight board may be appointed by the Governor, the Majority Leader of the Senate and the Speaker of the Assembly.
Finally, the creation of a New York State Center for Independent and Religious Schools will provide administrative relief to the State Education Department and the public school system while providing religious and independent school administrators with a single and self-sustaining entity for accessing information and resources intended for their benefit.
No new fiscal implications to the state. Funding for the New York State Center for Independent and Religious Schools is subject to funding currently appropriated in the 2013-2014 Enacted State Budget.
This act shall take effect immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 5253 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE May 15, 2013 ___________Introduced by Sen. FLANAGAN -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Education AN ACT to amend the education law, in relation to the New York state center for independent and religious schools establishment act THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The education law is amended by adding a new article 12-B to read as follows: ARTICLE 12-B NEW YORK CENTER FOR INDEPENDENT AND RELIGIOUS SCHOOLS OVERSIGHT BOARD SECTION 571. SHORT TITLE. 572. LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS AND INTENT. 573. DEFINITIONS. 574. NEW YORK STATE CENTER FOR INDEPENDENT AND RELIGIOUS SCHOOLS. 575. NEW YORK STATE CENTER FOR INDEPENDENT AND RELIGIOUS SCHOOLS OVERSIGHT BOARD ESTABLISHED. 576. AUTHORITY AND DUTIES OF THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR. 577. RULES AND REGULATIONS. S 571. SHORT TITLE. THIS ARTICLE SHALL BE KNOWN AND MAY BE CITED AS THE "NEW YORK STATE CENTER FOR INDEPENDENT AND RELIGIOUS SCHOOLS ESTAB- LISHMENT ACT". S 572. LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS AND INTENT. 1. THE STATE HAS RECOGNIZED THE NEED FOR THE CONTINUED SUSTAINABILITY OF INDEPENDENT AND RELIGIOUS SCHOOLS AS THESE SCHOOLS PLAY A VITAL ROLE IN THE EDUCATION OF CHILDREN WITHIN THE MANY COMMUNITIES THROUGHOUT THE STATE. 2. IN RECOGNITION OF THE NEED TO SUPPORT ALL SCHOOLS, THE STATE PROVIDES FUNDING TO SUPPORT AN ARRAY OF SERVICES INTENDED TO BENEFIT STUDENTS IN ALL SCHOOLS INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO FUNDING FOR INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS, SCHOOL HEALTH AND SAFETY MEASURES, ACADEMIC INTERVENTION SERVICES AND TRANSPORTATION SERVICES. THE ADMINISTRATION OFEXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD10879-01-3 S. 5253 2
PROGRAMS AND SERVICES INTENDED TO BENEFIT THE STUDENTS IN INDEPENDENT AND RELIGIOUS SCHOOLS FALLS MOST OFTEN TO THE PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICTS IN WHICH SUCH INDEPENDENT OR RELIGIOUS SCHOOLS ARE LOCATED OR THE SCHOOL DISTRICTS IN WHICH SUCH INDEPENDENT AND RELIGIOUS SCHOOL STUDENTS RESIDE. THE STATE RECOGNIZES THE SUBSTANTIAL ADMINISTRATIVE BURDEN PLACED ON PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICTS CHARGED WITH ADMINISTERING SERVICES FOR STUDENTS OVER WHOM SUCH DISTRICTS HAVE LITTLE DIRECT RESPONSIBILITY. THE STATE FURTHER RECOGNIZES THE INEFFICIENCIES THAT EXIST AND THE CHAL- LENGES FACED BY INDEPENDENT AND RELIGIOUS SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS WHO MUST WORK WITH MULTIPLE SCHOOL DISTRICTS IN ORDER TO ARRANGE SERVICES AND PROGRAMS INTENDED TO BENEFIT THEIR STUDENTS. 3. THE STATE RECOGNIZES THE NEED TO CREATE THE NEW YORK STATE CENTER FOR INDEPENDENT AND RELIGIOUS SCHOOLS SO THAT THE STATE MAY ALLEVIATE THE ADMINISTRATIVE BURDEN PLACED ON PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICTS; PROVIDE A MORE EFFICIENT AND COST-EFFECTIVE MEANS OF ADMINISTERING PROGRAMS AND SERVICES TO THE BENEFIT OF STUDENTS; AND AVOID EXCESSIVE ENTANGLEMENT OF GOVERNMENT ENTITIES WITH RELIGIOUS AND INDEPENDENT INSTITUTIONS. S 573. DEFINITIONS. FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS ARTICLE: 1. "CENTER" SHALL MEAN THE NEW YORK STATE CENTER FOR INDEPENDENT AND RELIGIOUS SCHOOLS, ESTABLISHED PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ARTI- CLE; 2. "BOARD" SHALL MEAN THE NEW YORK STATE CENTER FOR INDEPENDENT AND RELIGIOUS SCHOOLS OVERSIGHT BOARD, ESTABLISHED PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ARTICLE; 3. "COMMISSIONER" SHALL MEAN THE COMMISSIONER OF EDUCATION; 4. "DIRECTOR" SHALL MEAN THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE NEW YORK STATE CENTER FOR INDEPENDENT AND RELIGIOUS SCHOOLS; AND 5. "INDEPENDENT AND RELIGIOUS SCHOOL" SHALL MEAN ANY NONPUBLIC ELEMEN- TARY OR SECONDARY SCHOOL IN THE STATE WHICH (A) PROVIDES INSTRUCTION IN ACCORDANCE WITH ARTICLE SEVENTEEN AND SECTION THIRTY-TWO HUNDRED FOUR OF THIS CHAPTER, (B) HAS NOT BEEN FOUND TO BE IN VIOLATION OF TITLE VI OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF NINETEEN HUNDRED SIXTY-FOUR, 78 STAT. 252, 42 U.S.C. S 2000(D), AND (C) WHICH IS ENTITLED TO A TAX EXEMPTION UNDER SECTION FIVE HUNDRED ONE (A) AND FIVE HUNDRED ONE (C)(3) OF THE FEDERAL INTERNAL REVENUE CODE OF NINETEEN HUNDRED FIFTY-FOUR, AS AMENDED. S 574. NEW YORK STATE CENTER FOR INDEPENDENT AND RELIGIOUS SCHOOLS. THE NEW YORK STATE CENTER FOR INDEPENDENT AND RELIGIOUS SCHOOLS IS HERE- BY ESTABLISHED TO DISBURSE SAFETY EQUIPMENT FUNDS MADE AVAILABLE FOR SUCH PURPOSE; TO PROVIDE AND COORDINATE SERVICES AND PROGRAMS AS PROVIDED FOR BY THIS CHAPTER, REGULATIONS OF THE COMMISSIONER, AND THAT MAY BE IDENTIFIED BY THE BOARD TO THE BENEFIT OF INDEPENDENT AND RELI- GIOUS SCHOOL STUDENTS AND PERSONNEL; AND TO DISSEMINATE INFORMATION AND CARRY OUT OTHER ACTIVITIES FOR THE BENEFIT OF INDEPENDENT AND RELIGIOUS SCHOOL STUDENTS AND PERSONNEL. THE COMMISSIONER SHALL, WITHIN THE FACIL- ITIES OF THE STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT, PROVIDE OFFICE SPACE AS WELL AS TECHNICAL AND RELATED ADMINISTRATIVE RESOURCES TO SUCH CENTER. S 575. NEW YORK STATE CENTER FOR INDEPENDENT AND RELIGIOUS SCHOOLS OVERSIGHT BOARD ESTABLISHED. 1. THE BOARD SHALL PROVIDE ADVICE AND DIRECTION FOR THE WORK OF THE CENTER PURSUANT TO THIS ARTICLE AND SHALL ENSURE THAT THE WORK OF THE CENTER IS TRANSPARENT TO THE PUBLIC AT LARGE. THE BOARD SHALL: (A) ELECT A CHAIRPERSON AND DESIGNATE OFFICERS AND COMMITTEES AS MAY BE NECESSARY TO CARRY OUT THE WORK OF THE BOARD AND CENTER; (B) APPOINT AN EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, BASED ON CRITERIA TO BE DETERMINED BY THE BOARD, TO OVERSEE THE DAY-TO-DAY OPERATIONS OF THE CENTER; (C) HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO ACCEPT AND RECEIVE ANY GRANTS, AWARDS, APPROPRIATIONS OR OTHER FUNDS AS MAY BE MADE AVAILABLE TO THE CENTER;S. 5253 3
AND (D) PROVIDE FINAL APPROVAL OR DISAPPROVAL OF THE AWARDING OF GRANTS AND THE DISBURSEMENT OF ANY AND ALL FUNDS ADMINISTERED BY THE CENTER. THE BOARD SHALL COMMENCE ITS WORK AND SHALL BE CONSIDERED FUNCTIONING WITHIN NINETY DAYS OF THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS ARTICLE. 2. THE OVERSIGHT BOARD SHALL COMPRISE: (A) THE MEMBERS OF THE COMMIS- SIONER'S ADVISORY COUNCIL OF NONPUBLIC SCHOOLS AS MAY BE APPOINTED TO SUCH COUNCIL BY THE COMMISSIONER; (B) AT LEAST ONE REPRESENTATIVE OF THE COMMISSIONER; AND (C) AT LEAST ONE REPRESENTATIVE OF THE OFFICE OF THE STATE COMPTROLLER. IN ADDITION, THE BOARD MAY INCLUDE UP TO THREE ADDI- TIONAL MEMBERS OF WHOM ONE WOULD BE APPOINTED BY THE GOVERNOR, ONE APPOINTED BY THE MAJORITY LEADER OF THE SENATE, AND ONE APPOINTED BY THE SPEAKER OF THE ASSEMBLY. 3. MEMBERS OF THE BOARD SHALL RECEIVE NO COMPENSATION BUT MAY BE REIM- BURSED FOR THEIR ACTUAL AND NECESSARY EXPENSES INCURRED IN THE PERFORM- ANCE OF THEIR OFFICIAL DUTIES. 4. THE BOARD SHALL PROVIDE FOR AN ANNUAL AUDIT THAT SHALL BE COMPLETED BY THE FIRST DAY OF SEPTEMBER OF THE YEAR FOLLOWING THE YEAR IN WHICH THIS ARTICLE SHALL HAVE TAKEN EFFECT AND ANNUALLY THEREAFTER, OR ON ANOTHER DATE SET BY THE BOARD. THE AUDIT SHALL INCLUDE, AT THE MINIMUM, AN ACCOUNTING FOR BOTH THE RECEIPT AND EXPENDITURE OF ALL FUNDS ADMINIS- TERED BY THE CENTER DURING THE PREVIOUS CALENDAR YEAR. THE AUDIT SHALL ALSO INCLUDE A REPORT OF ALL THE CENTER'S ANNUAL ACCOUNTS AND THE STATUS OF ANY AND ALL GRANTS THAT THE BOARD HAS APPROVED DURING THE PREVIOUS CALENDAR YEAR. THE AUDIT SHALL BE MADE AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC AND BE FILED WITH THE OFFICE OF THE STATE COMPTROLLER. THE OFFICE OF THE STATE COMPTROLLER MAY REQUIRE ADDITIONAL FILING REQUIREMENTS TO BE COMPLETED BY THE CENTER. S 576. AUTHORITY AND DUTIES OF THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR. 1. THE EXECU- TIVE DIRECTOR SHALL BE APPOINTED BY THE BOARD AND SHALL HAVE AUTHORITY AND DUTY TO OVERSEE THE DAY-TO-DAY OPERATIONS OF THE CENTER. THE DIREC- TOR SHALL ESTABLISH AND MAINTAIN DISTINCT ACCOUNTS, TO BE APPROVED BY THE BOARD, TO ADMINISTER FUNDS APPORTIONED TO THE CENTER. SUCH ACCOUNTS MUST, AT MINIMUM, SEPARATE PUBLIC FUNDS FROM FUNDS THE CENTER MAY ACQUIRE THROUGH PRIVATE DONATIONS AND OTHER SOURCES. THE DIRECTOR, WITH THE APPROVAL OF THE BOARD, IS EMPOWERED TO ENTER INTO ANY AGREEMENT OR CONTRACT WITH ANY PRIVATE OR PUBLIC AGENCIES, CORPORATIONS, OR INDIVID- UALS NECESSARY OR CONVENIENT TO CARRY OUT THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ARTI- CLE, INCLUDING THE HIRING OF ADMINISTRATIVE STAFF NECESSARY TO CARRY OUT THE FUNCTIONS OF THE CENTER. THE DIRECTOR SHALL DRAFT FOR THE BOARD AN ANNUAL AUDIT AND SHALL FULFILL ALL NECESSARY FILING REQUIREMENTS NECES- SARY TO CARRY OUT THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ARTICLE. THE DIRECTOR SHALL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR TRANSMITTING TO THE BOARD ANY INFORMATION NECESSARY FOR THE BOARD TO CARRY OUT ITS DUTIES AND ANY OTHER INFORMATION AS THE BOARD MAY REQUEST. 2. THE DIRECTOR SHALL AWARD GRANTS AND/OR MAKE PAYMENTS BASED ON CRITERIA PREPARED BY THE DIRECTOR AND APPROVED BY THE BOARD, TO ELIGIBLE INDEPENDENT AND RELIGIOUS SCHOOLS OR SERVICE PROVIDERS. THE DIRECTOR SHALL DETERMINE IN WHAT MANNER AND AT WHAT TIME SUCH GRANTS AND/OR PAYMENTS SHALL BE DISBURSED. 3. COMPENSATION OF THE DIRECTOR ANY PAYMENT OF OTHER ADMINISTRATIVE AND NECESSARY EXPENSES SHALL BE DETERMINED BY THE BOARD AND SHALL BE ALLOCATED OUT OF FUNDS ADMINISTERED BY THE CENTER. S 577. RULES AND REGULATIONS. THE COMMISSIONER MAY PROMULGATE ANY RULES OR REGULATIONS NECESSARY TO CARRY OUT THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ARTI- CLE. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.